Tacoma Defiance center back duo come up big in the attack


It is unusual for center backs to regularly be used in the attack, but Tacoma Defiance have taken advantage of its towering defenders’ eye for goal.

AB Cissoko and Hal Uderitz hold down the fort as the two starting center backs for Tacoma Defiance, while also serving as some of the consistent goal scorers on the team.

“It's a bonus,” said Head Coach Wade Webber.

The two defenders might not be scoring during the run of play, but they’ve utilized set pieces to perfection to rack up points for their team.

“We want to create recreatable goals,” said Webber. “We don't want to just [rely on] individual moments… But I do think one thing we can say is to take advantage of set plays and the execution of them.”

Cissoko was one of the primary scorers last season with five goals and has already made the stat sheet this year after tallying a brace for the Defiance on Sunday against Real Monarchs. Uderitz is also off to a favorable start, scoring two goals in the team’s first two matches this year. Three of their combined goals this season came from corner kicks, while one of Cissoko’s goals was a penalty kick. The central defenders currently sit as the joint-leading scorers for Tacoma Defiance with two apiece.

“I think especially as center backs you don't get opportunities to score anything and so when you get those opportunities to go forward on set pieces or corners, you have to make the most of those opportunities,” said Uderitz.

It is also a way to create a competitive mindset between Uderitz and Cissoko and the entirety of the team. 

“Anytime a center back can be one of the top goal scorers on the team, I think that's a good thing for defenders,” said Uderitz. “I'll challenge AB and AB will challenge me, and we’ll challenge guys higher up the field.”